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Thread: Smelt and cast with one pot?

  1. #1

    Smelt and cast with one pot?

    I have gotten back into casting after a period of absence from it. I used to melt wheel weights, flux (or what I thought fluxing was) and then cast from a bottom pour lee pot. I usually did this without making ingots and such. Is this not the preferred method? I started reading posts on this forum just recently, and it seems most of you are using two different lead pots. One to melt and clean alloy for ingots and a second one for making bullets when you are ready. When I first started casting it was pre internet days and you read a book or two and then went at it. Nobody to guide you and no youtube video demonstrations.
    Trying to get the best bullet I can get.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    Use a different pot for smelting down scrap.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I've done both. For me, its easier to make ingots in a separate operation when using a bottom pour pot . Sometime in the past, I used a coleman stove and a cast iron pot, and it was easy enough to fill it with weights, and smelt then start casting. Not getting the garbage from wheel weights in your casting pot means less fluxing, which means keeping your pace better, for me at least.

    I cut an old propane tank I had, and made a smelting pot. Set it on some bricks and built a fire below. Worked well enough the couple times I've done it. Not super efficient.

    I removed the valve enough that it started leaking, and let the last bit of gas leak out over the course of a night. Then I removed the valve all the way and let it set a few months, as Thats how long it took me to get around to it. I let it set valve up, and valve down a while. No smell when I cut it, and no problems either, when I put the cutting wheel to it.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 03-05-2018 at 01:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I started out the same way you did with the Lee 10 lb. pot. Once you start making ingots in a different pot you will never go back. I now use an old cooking pot with a wire handle over a wood fire. I also don't bother fluxing during ingot making. Just stir once in a while to get the clips to the top of the melt.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  5. #5
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    I would advise against using the same pot. You’re asking for inclusions and junk in your bullets. Find a cheap cast iron pot to smelt in or similar if in the cheap or one of the converted propane cylinders someone sells here is a good one too.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I use two different. That pot i use to smelt with can hold around a hundred ish pounds while my Lee pot only holds 20. Larger pot makes smelting quicker. Pluss keeps the gunk and debri out of the bottom pour pot

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    another vote for different pots.

    the crud in the raw lead products can be very interesting at times
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Its generally considered better to smelt/melt your scrap lead in a different pot than you cast in. This is assuming that you cast from a bottom pour pot. This method keeps the dirt and trash away from the bottom pour spout and provides nice clean lead to cast with. By smelting in a separate pot you can get larger batches of uniform alloy than doing smaller batches in your casting pot. But, be careful with contamination when doing large batches. I store each smelting session as a batch and in separate containers with a label marking when they were cast and the alloy. Smelting pots can be anything to large Dutch ovens, cut off propane tanks, stainless stock pots, or you can build one. If you go with cast, warm it slowly and avoid hitting it when its hot. Aluminum should be avoided.

  9. #9
    Vendor Sponsor D Crockett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    I would advise against using the same pot. You’re asking for inclusions and junk in your bullets. Find a cheap cast iron pot to smelt in or similar if in the cheap or one of the converted propane cylinders someone sells here is a good one too.
    I am that person D Crockett I make smelting pots and other thing for casting lead go to the vendor section and look under smelting pots and ingot molds and you can see pictures of what I make thank you D Crockett

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Just to be clear, the main reason for not "smelting" in your bottom pour pot is the need for a clean alloy. Any tiny spec of dirt, sand, carbon, etc., can get in the needle valve and cause a drip. Plus junk gets in the bullets. Much better to clean your alloy in a separate pot and pour off the lead into ingots (I never pout every last bit out of my smelting pot as a lot of junk can be floating around in the dregs)...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    You must be processing very small batchs of COWW’s! I NEVER re-melt dirty old Pb and stuff in my LEE bottom pours. It is hard enough keeping the crud cleaned up in them without melting dirty unknown garbage Pb in them.

    I use a 100#+ plumbers furnace for large batches. And have an old Lee 20# pot for small batches.

    Never in the same pot. EVER!!!!! Spend some $$...get another re-melting pot setup.
    Last edited by bangerjim; 03-01-2018 at 01:52 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I'm in the same pot club .melt scrap ,flux ,skim off the rubbish then make ingots all in my Lee 10 lb pot not ideal but I only cast /smelt in small volume .

  13. #13
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    If you are buying clean alloy and that's all you see you're OK. If you remelt scrap you will benefit from the two pot method.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I was a reloader for years and never gave much thought about casting until I stumbled in here. I was instantly hooked! I lurked and looked and I read a LOT. What I determined was I needed two pots, one biggun for smelting down all those lovely yet dirty stinky wheel weights and a small bottom pour for actual casting the silver stream. I quickly found that way also had the benefit of making larger batches of specific alloy's for different purposes such as rifle vs handgun vs shotgun. As far as I'm concerned that's the ONLY way.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    I'm in the same pot club .melt scrap ,flux ,skim off the rubbish then make ingots all in my Lee 10 lb pot not ideal but I only cast /smelt in small volume .
    His biggest problem is a “bottom pour pot”! You are using a small ladle pour pot that is just a metal can that gets hot. The 20# bottom pour valve/seat/linkage will plug up eaily even just melting CLEAN ingots, let alone introducing garbage into the bottom of it. And can really plug fast melting garbage Pb.

    I suggested to him to buy a small standard (10#) Lee pot (not expensive at all) for re-melting/fluxing small amounts of Pb for ingots. But cast ONLY from the 20# Lee bottom pour he has.

    Banger

  16. #16
    Boolit Master WILCO's Avatar
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    I smelt in a small skillet. Also cast boolits with it too. Didn't have any issues, as the skillet was emptied of all debris each time. Now I cast with a LEE Precision furnace. Better temperature control.
    More alloy to work with.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Like you I was only using my Lee bottom pour pot for everything. since I don't really do that much smelting, I've gone the cheap route and went to Walmart and bought a steel mini muffin pan for making the ingots, a steel pot for the smelting and an electric single burner hot plate for my heat source. It's not that fast but it works.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    IMO, the reason so many complain about Lee pots dripping, they smelt in them & empty them. My 2 Lee pots have never been completely emptied nor do I put anything in them but clean ingots. In almost 20y, they do not leak or drip.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    I am a Small Volume caster and cast mainly plinking boolits, I use a 20lb LEE for smelting and make ingots of relatively clean alloy about once a year. I cast about 2 pots of boolits at a sitting. My LEE 20lb doesn't drip or leak

    Edit to add: I always ladle my ingots into the Muffin Pan to keep trash out of the Bottom Pour Spout.
    Last edited by Mtnfolk75; 03-02-2018 at 06:19 PM.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    If one uses a ladle for casting, using one pot is acceptable. When I started with a SS pot on a Coleman stove, I used a ladle and was able to cast clean bullets, not so with a bottom pour pot...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check